“Seasons of mellow fruitfulness…” I read that as a reluctant school child and it meant nothing. Rolling around in the hills of East Lothian at the weekend easing plums from trees groaning with low hanging plumptious, yellow, rosy plums it meant everything. Scrambling about gathering the fallen plums, nudging a branch as dozens of ripe plums thundered down on our sticky heads and climbing rickety ladders to ease a few more off their branches was living the good life idyll.
These beauties are all grown in a neglected orchard which a farmer pal of Davids suggested we might like to pick. Damsons, apples and plums were everywhere. It was a secret deserted garden with a crumbling wall surrounding it, we drove over fields, and into uncharted territory to discover these aged trees and bushes that no-one has tended for years and yet offer an abundance of produce. The dogs snuffled about lazily, the kids stuffed fruit into their mouths and the adults filled baskets and boxes with the moist sweet ripe fruit.
Once gathered we tramped off home, washed them, sliced and stoned some and made a plum tart. Just one sheet of puff pastry, scored at the edges to allow the pastry to rise and stop the juices and sweet stickiness to escape . A thin layer of demarara sugar on top and into a baking oven for about 20 minutes. Soon they emerged with a smell that could turn the most determined dieter into a quivering wreck. A blob of cream and and a lot of oohs and aahs as we cut into and tasted the hot sweet unctuous delights.
The remaining kilos of plums were taken to the restaurant on Sunday where they will be turned into jam and chutney for our customers to enjoy. After all the Scottish Autumn fruit season is a thing of joy we should all indulge in when we get the chance. Mmmmn. I’m off to nibble another one right now.